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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

74                                              ' MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

occurred completely he poured off the contents of the tank on the ground opposite the
door. The plastic hand bag had not been affected by the acid.

On the first March the residual acid sludge and the debris lying on the ground were
lifted carefully by shovel and removed in boxes- to New Scotland Yard for laboratory
examination and sieving. All this mass of grease and earth weighed about 475 Ibs.

For three days the dirty, partly yellow greasy, partly charred oily residue was
patiently searched by spreading it out over steel trays on the laboratory bench, and Lhe
following were recovered from the whole mass : —

(1)  A mass of some 28 Ibs. of yellow greasy substance resembling melted body fat.

(2)  Three facetted gall stones of human type.

(3)  Part of a left foot eroded by acid.

(4)  Eighteen fragments of human bone, all eroded by acid to a varying degree.

(5)  Intact full upper and lower dentures.

(6)  The handle of a red plastic handbag.

(7)  A lipstick container cap.

The eighteen fragments of partly eroded bone on further examination were identi-
fied as—

(a)  A left ankle pivot bone  (talus).

(b)  A small part of the centre of the right foot, with attached ligamentous tissues.

(c)  A right os caleis  (heel bone).

(d)  A right ankle pivot bone  (talus),

(e)  Three lengths of eroded long bone cortex, probably femur   (thigh bone),
(if) Parts of each pelvic  (hip-girdle)  bone.

(g) A fragment of pelvic wing (hip crest).

(7i) A small piece of the lower spinal column, together with eroded parts of two
intervertebral discs.

(i) Seven further small fragments, too far eroded for exact anatomical definition.

All these residual fragments were eroded by a strongly acid fluid, and sharply
distinguished, therefore, from certain animal bones which showed no such changes though
lying in the same soil surface.

The intact dentures were identified by a London Dental Surgeon as having been
supplied by her to Mrs. Durand-Deacon in the year 1947.

It was reasonable to draw the following inferences from these examinations: —

(1)  The gall stones were of human type and construction, and a positive precipitin
test proved beyond doubt that they were human.

(2)  Of the nineteen parts of tissues listed above, the foot was so obviously human
as to be plainly so to a lay person; a plastic cast was made, and this  enabled some
comparison to  be  made  between it  and  the  left  shoe  of  the  suspected  victim.    The
remaining very small fragments except seven were  human  as  judged  by their mere

(3)  No evidence of more than one body was forthcoming from the remains.

(4)  Indications  of sex which remained after erosion were female;  there was no
indication to the contrary,

(5)  The somewhat fragile state of the bones and the presence of osteo-arthritis in
certain joints indicated late adult age.

(6)  The dentures were sufficient to place identity beyond all possible doubt.

(7)  The remains gave no evidence as to the cause of death.

(8)  Immersion in concentrated sulphuric acid would under certain circumstances,
result in as extensive a destruction of the body as indicated by the remains within a
period of several days.    The body fat, gall stones, and  certain plastic substances like
dentures would resist this erosion.

In addition to the above, a group of very finely spattered blood-stains were found
on the white-washed wall of the store-shed. They -were photographed and carefully
removed for laboratory examination. They were found to be human.

Haigh was charged with the wilful murder of Mrs. Durand-Deacon and was tried
at^ the Sussex Assizes at Lewes. A plea of insanity was raised in defence. To prove
this it was mentioned that after shooting his victim the accused made an incision into
the side of her throat with a penknife and collected a glass of blood which he drank.
He was also in the habit of drinking urine. -The Jury, however, found the accused
guilty who was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on August 10, 1949.14

14.   Keith. Simpson, Medico-Leg. Jour-.,- Vol. XVHI, Part H, 1950, p. 38. -